Gottheimer Pushes Fast Replacement of Lead Pipes
Rep. Josh Gottheimer today visited a Suez Water work site in Dumont to highlight the importance of replacing lead service lines as quickly as possible. The Suez company is scheduled to replace about 25 percent of lead lines in Bergen and Hudson counties this year. Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:
“Lead is jeopardizing our most precious resources, our drinking water and our children. Lead creates serious health problems and developmental defects that especially affect children. Congressman Gottheimer has been a real leader in fighting New Jersey’s lead problem. Today’s event is just another example of his efforts, drawing attention to the urgency of replacing lead service lines. In Bergen and Hudson counties alone there are 57 communities that have been found with elevated lead levels in their tap water. It is critical that water companies like Suez move as quickly as possible in replacing these lines and protecting our water.
“High levels of lead are getting into our homes and our schools. This is a $2.3 billion problem that needs to fixed immediately. What’s happening in New Jersey is what happened in Flint, Michigan. Many of our water systems go back to the Victorian era and even homes built in the ‘30s and ‘40s have pipes made with lead solder. Lead leaches out the pipes and into our water. Children in some New Jersey cities have more lead in their blood than those in Flint. Lead can cause illness, and even in small amounts can lead to brain damage and learning disabilities. Thousands of children are diagnosed with lead poisoning in New Jersey each year. We must start doing a better job not just testing for lead, but quickly fixing the problems that are creating these elevated lead levels.
“None of us, especially our children, should have to drink water filled with lead. We need to quickly replace the pipes bringing this water into our homes and schools. We need to do whatever is necessary to reduce the amount of lead in our drinking water and keep the people of New Jersey safe. We need a concerted effort that includes federal and state money, local resources and private companies to remove our lead. We have a serious problem that we have to deal with now so we can all live in lead-free environments. We thank Congressman Gottheimer for continuing to be a leader in getting the lead out.”